Heard that one before in past years.
Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
Plus, it usually takes more than that!!
Either KRPUA rule violators get caught by troopers red handed or one must have real proof they were doing so (take photos of armed yahoos in action ;-), or it can simply be denied and the DA just tosses it out - ... "bigger fish to fry".
F&G employees (as well as others, including a past Commissioner of Public Safety) are correct when they allow that 'active management' is past due and needed in the KRPUA. Part time, overtime troopers will likely never be effective or timely enough. The enforcement scheme was purposefully minimized by a few user groups and legislators so things could be " ... how it used to be." (Charlie Huggins in the Frontiersman declaring "war" on conservationists during the legislative process).
Remarkably, one could just as easily call troopers prior to legislation. True, on the other hand, they do have some money for limited visits now.
"Zero Tolerance" only works when the tools are in place to effectively and consistently enforce. Nice PR slogan, however.
A reliable management presence will be needed to straighten out the Knik issues - on both sides of the river, as there are more than ample 'bad apples' - more than anyone cares to admit.
Personally, had I been out there when my family was, I would have done more than call troopers. I take great offense at having my family endangered in an area we enjoyed for decades, particularly after having multiple experiences dodging bullets in the Knik and extensively documenting this exact issue in this exact spot (and others) for a very long time - as news archives and court records confirm.
Below is an open letter I sent to DNR on this recent event. While I recognize the need for a range, will likely use it (though my wife certainly won't after all the BS behind it), I would sure like to see the needed boots on the ground in the area.
And heaven help the wayward person caught pointing a firearm towards my grandchildren. i have already had my son down behind a tree dodging rapid weapons fire in the Knik, and my tolerance is well, ... minimal, to say the least.
"Clark Cox, Regional Manager, DNR MLW
For the record, an open letter:P.S. - We see you have one quiet day scheduled for the new shooting range - how about a baby step towards equity and provide at a minimum two consecutive days (think Eklutna), so quiet users and wildlife can enjoy the benefits? Families might again be encouraged to enjoy an overnight trip into this special area, given a safe place to park and more reasonable safety levels. "
I am addressing you directly over this issue, since you were a key figure on the compromised KRPUA planning team. There needs to be some real leadership regarding the KRPUA from the top down.
In our recent meeting regarding serious and ongoing KRPUA related issues, I let you (and Travis Jensen, new KRPUA manager) know that I had family coming to visit and hoped for a peaceful canoe/kayak trip in Jim Swan Wetlands with my grandchildren, eldest son (whom enjoyed the area throughout his childhood) and his wife. Since I had work on the peninsula over the weekend, my wife and visiting family decided to go out without me on Sunday, July 20.
Arriving at the Mud Lake put-in (to which Eklutna Inc. has long ago granted the State an easement) they found two carloads of people with firearms targeting towards the lake! If you look through KRPUA 'planning' testimony and photo documentation, you will recall that this has been an issue literally documented for decades. My wife diplomatically informed them of your new shooting range. They informed her that the range was "too crowded, and that is why we are here." Users of the KRPUA, attracted like flies by the basically sacrificial and compromised management scheme, are also sometimes abusive users of the adjoining Eklutna lands. We have long enjoined DNR to work with adjoining land owners to curb dangerous and damaging issues - also documented in the KRPUA record. A musher friend's story (and many similar, including my own) is in that testimony wherein he was nearly hit by rifle fire from the same point. Clay pigeons observed on the lake that day (and near always) also tell the indisputable tale of lethal and illegal lead in the wetlands.
Now Clark, had my family been returning from their paddle trip, they may have been hit. Foolish shooters cannot always see paddlers due to vegetation and multiple routes, nor anticipate their path and arrival. Many firearms are more than capable of reaching to the KRPUA trails on the far side of this lake. Had I been there, I would have had license numbers, called the troopers and you, AND confronted these armed individuals. My family did not feel safe in confronting them - but I am, after 27 years of essentially ignored and failed efforts in trying to attain overall responsible management and enforcement for the incredible Jim Swan area, very, very angry.
MSB used to print maps and advertise what a wonderful canoe trail system the Jim Swan area is. Birders, hunters, hikers - many, many types of recreational users used to enjoy the area, while now it has become commonplace to hear those same folks say they now completely avoid the area. Wildlife numbers of all types are down, habitat degradation is ongoing. Safety and enforcement levels continue to be inadequate. One still dares not leave a vehicle parked, and so on. Yet, DNR continues to favor damaging and unenforceable activities, to include promoting further ORV intrusions into the wetlands while likely misusing remnant USFWS CIAP funds, which flies directly in the face of their extensive field work in the area.
Conservationists tried hard for appropriate management and yet were beaten badly by documented court errors and the undeniable outright misinformation provided by groups you are aware of and favored. Such blatant process deficiencies and mismanagement can only continue to reflect badly on the State as well as illustrate the failures of those whom tried to help this area called critical by both F&G and DNR Commissioners in 1984. My, how our State has sadly changed.
At the very least, the expectation is that shooting - which should have been equitably (rather than the documented errant processes), yet sensibly, placed deep in the noisy portion of the KRPUA - cease to endanger and harm, ASAP. The campaign to get the State to wake up and get this cured for this heavily used area will grow in intensity until it gets done. Do it this season, before someone gets slapped with an ought six slug in the head on your watch. Work with Eklutna. Make the public fully aware. Do the signage, enforcement, and so on as needed.